Dealing with an emotionally unavailable partner

Emotional unavailability may look different depending on the situation, but the common theme is that dealing with emotions is a challenge

Alisha LalljeeUpdated: Monday, June 27, 2022, 09:12 AM IST
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Emotional detachment refers to being disconnected or disengaged from the feelings of other people. This can involve an inability or an unwillingness to get involved in the emotional lives of other people.

While this detachment may protect people from stress, hurt, and anxiety, it can also interfere with a person's psychological, social, and emotional well-being.

Emotional unavailability may look different depending on the situation, but the common theme is that dealing with emotions is a challenge.

A person may become emotionally detached, if they have been with a parent or caregiver who has been emotionally detached.

Sometimes an emotionally unavailable person may have a wound of their past, sitting at the back of their subconscious, that doesn’t allow them to move forward in life.

Dealing with a partner, who is emotionally unavailable may be challenging to handle, as they may not validate your feelings or have in-depth conversations.

Trying to understand a partner here is difficult as emotionally unavailable people often live in a bubble and are highly unpredictable.

A person may often feel that their partner is interested in them, they feel the attachment, however, they are not sure, still as the partner is emotionally reserved and non-demonstrative.

Often people may draw allegations of their partner cheating on them, however, it’s often their emotional unavailability that makes you feel this way.

Past trauma

Try to first understand, if your partner has had a past that has been traumatic or a past that they do not want to discuss. Not venting out and bottling up emotions can be the first sign, that you may see in your partner.

Give it time

Provide a safe space for your partner to communicate. Try speaking about sensitive and crucial topics and see how your partner reacts. Tell them about how you would appreciate them speaking to you at length.

Sharing responsibilities

If you have kids, and feel that you are the only one doing the rounds, it is important for you to open up about how difficult your situation is. Your partner may understand your situation but verbalising openly would be the right thing to do.

Pauses in a conversation

It is essential to have conversations with pauses to allow you’re partner to speak. You may be an extroverted one, however, not everyone may be like that.

Planning surprises

You may often feel that you are the only one doing the planning all the time, including on your birthday. Strike a deal with your partner on this, every month you plan something once for them and they are requested to plan something similar. Not all partners can need between the lines, it is best to simplify things.

Warmth and affection

This is one of the most crucial phases and rather something that may take a lot of time to develop.

You may not feel any warmth in your relation, everything may feel like a task or duty. Some things will take time and you will have to give your partner that.

One of the best ways in which you can get the ball rolling is by becoming that safe space for your partner. If you are able to comfort them adequately, they will seek solace in their relationship.

Most individuals who are emotionally unavailable find it difficult to sustain a relationship. To a third person this may look like a relationship with one overly invested partner and one that doesn’t care.

You may often hear an emotionally unavailable person say, “I cannot be who, you want me to be.”

The possibility of them being in denial is very high. They may not understand the gravity of their emotions and repercussions they cause to the relationship. Helping them accept their emotions here is important.

Alisha Lalljee is a psychologist, psychotherapist, and educator. You can access her website ( www.alishalalljee.com ) or contact her at alishalalljee@gmail.com

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